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Why does homeschooling during this time equal stress for many of us? Why can't homeschooling be fun and stress-free during the holiday season? It took me years, but I did figure out how to reduce some of the homeschool stress during this time.
I'd like to give you three tips to reduce homeschool stress during the holidays
Realized you can’t do it all.
You can’t continue the regular homeschool routine, buy, make, and wrap all the present, back cookies for the Christmas cookie exchange, participate in the church or community Christmas program or taxi your kids to all the practices so they can participate, get your house ready for family that is visiting AND stay sane. It’s just not possible!
It’s hard enough to homeschool and keep up with everything during normal everyday life (the non holiday season) so why do we think we can add a ton more to our to do list and not stress out?
When your stress level begins to rise, ask yourself, “Do I really need to do this? If so, why?”
“Can someone else do this instead of me?”
Don’t try to do it all. Say no to some things...many things, delegate, especially if you have older children that can help.
Make a plan.
Yes, I know that’s easier said than done, but you will thank me later if you take an evening… soon, like this week, and plan out what you absolutely need to do during the months of November and December. When will you have all your Christmas shopping done? Will you be having guests over? When does the house need to be clean? When are the holiday program rehearsals and performances? How about parties? Make sure it’s all on the calendar. If you’re like me when I have millions of things to remember and places to be, if I don’t put it on the calendar, I either double book myself or forget it.
Do something different.
How much of the normal homeschool subjects do you need to do? Can you give your family an extra long holiday break?
Although, there are typically three weeks between the end of the Thanksgiving weekend and a few days before Christmas. It is very hard to do school during this time. No matter the age of my children, it was almost impossible to keep the normal homeschool rhythm going. So I decided many years back to completely stopped formal teaching, our normal homeschool routine, right before Thanksgiving and not start up until after the new year.
It took me years to give up the school books. I tried over and over again, every holiday season to just do it, march on with the school routine. Try it again,.... maybe this year I could do it.
But every year I failed. It was impossible for me to keep the normal homeschool routine. I was always so stressed. I frustrated me that the time of year that was supposed to be full of cheer and love and giving stressed me out so much.
Remember this. You are the teacher. You get to decide when, where and how “school” will happen. Did you know that almost every survey taken where homeschool moms are asked what is the hardest months to homeschool, they say December?
If you are new to homeschooling, I hope you take my advice. Take a break! Going into the summer, or schooling year round with more breaks might be the best thing for your family. Did you know that public school teacher think they did a great job if they get through 80% off a text book byt the end of the year?
Don’t’ ruin the holiday spirit and the your atmosphere of your home by being majorly stress out!
If you are a long time homeschooler, don’t continue trying to do the same thing you do every year, if it never works.
Albert Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
Here’s an idea. If you want to continue some type of schooling during these weeks, replace as much of your school subjects with holiday themed subjects, better yet, removed some of the subjects that you can catch up on in January.
Include your children in the purchasing of gifts (They can learn budgeting, saving, spending)
Have them make some of their gifts (arts and crafts)
There are tons of holiday themed science experiments on Pinterest. Find a couple and do them. (Science)
Enjoy baking Christmas cookies and desserts together (home economics). Double, triple or better yet to sharpen math skills by telling them to make the recipe 1.5 or 2.5x more than called for in the recipe. (math)
Read Thanksgiving and Christmas themed books together. Big kids and little kids alike love being read to, especially if they know that if they sit and listen, it will replace a school subject they may not wanted to do! Or you could have one of the older children read. (Reading and or history.)
My product, Legends of Christmas was created to help you do the very things I just suggested. Replace the normal school subjects with new, fun, Christmas themed subjects.
Legends of Christmas will give your family a unique study opportunity to learn about the history revolving around Christmas and the many things used to celebrate it today. This resource was designed to be used with children of all ages. Pre-k to teens
This fun Christmas product includes coloring pages, writing prompts, art and craft activities, discussion questions, food ideas and Scripture suggestions to help discuss the history of what's addressed as well as raise awareness of how these can relate to Christmas today, especially pointing to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 50 pages of fun and learning!
If this season is the most difficult and stressful time of year for you, give yourself a break.
Remember that you can’t and shouldn’t do it all. Make a plan. Try something different. Don’t do the same thing that caused stress last year. Change! Whatever you do, make sure it is something that is simply, easy, and enjoyable for the whole family.
This is so much better than having a breakdown and crying in the bathroom. (I know from experience!) Enjoy the season. Learn and laugh with your family.
Enjoying the journey,
Michelle Osborn is the owner and founder of Yellow House Book Rental, specializing in providing homeschool curriculum for rent or purchase, as well as counseling and guidance for homeschool families. She is a wife of 32 years, a 22-year homeschool veteran, and mom of four amazing children and five adorable grandchildren. Three of her children are now entrepreneurs, running their own businesses and doing quite well. Michelle’s passions include serving by leading worship at her church and encouraging homeschool moms through one on one, social media and speaking engagements. She has found her niche in helping parents homeschooling their teens through the high school years and on to pursue their dreams
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